ICT Update: December 19, 2019

ICT Update | December 19, 2019
Authors: Jamie Lim, Nugraheni Utami, and Taylor Dumaine
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

January 15/16: 1st Planning Call for the Malaysia Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF). The call will take place Wednesday January 15 at 9:00 PM EST/Thursday January 16 10:00AM SGT. Register for the call here. For more information contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org

January 16: Meeting of the Singapore Joint Cybersecurity Working Group: Register for the meeting here. For more information contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Thailand to Launch New 5G Regulations

On December 13, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) announced that they will launch new regulations regarding 5G technology in March of 2020. An initial 5G regulatory framework is expected in early 2020 before the 5G license auction in February 2020. Key regulations include technical standards, numbering and identification of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, data privacy and security standards, and data interoperability.

As a result, Thailand will have to ensure the compatibility between its 5G regulatory framework and other existing Acts. NBTC noted that they would construct privacy and security regulations in line with the Personal Data Protection Act. Deputy Secretary-General of the NBTC, Korkij Danchaivichit, also stated that customer data should be classified separately from general data that could be used for the “optimum public benefit”. In addition, the Telecom Business Act currently stipulates that telecommunications operators cannot use customer data for benefit beyond telecommunications services. Mr. Danchaivichit expressed the possible need to amend this provision to permit the use of data for “public benefit.” NBTC also plans to encourage increased data connectivity across devices and is in the process of developing two draft regulations for IoT devices. NBTC has signaled its intention to align IoT device numbering with the International Telecommunication Union standards through the adoption a 14-digit system rather than the previously proposed 15-digit system. The goal is to increase machine-to-machine connectivity across industry sectors.

Deployment of 5G services is incredibly important to the development of Industry 4.0 as it increases connectivity and internet speed. The Council is encouraged by Thailand’s dedication to implementing 5G as well as creating regulatory frameworks in line with international standards. However, as more details and the full draft of the regulatory framework have yet to be shared, the Council will continue to monitor any developments to continue promoting for interoperability with global standards and best practices. 5G implementation will contribute greatly to the digital economy and in addition to Thailand, other ASEAN member states including Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam are also looking to deploy 5G networks and devices.

Malaysia and Singapore Encourage SMEs to Leverage Digital Tools

On December 9, the Malaysian Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) and the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) launched the joint MED-MTDC Industry 4.0 SME Accelerator Program. The program aims to assist 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) learn and implement digital solutions for their businesses, across the nine pillars of Industry 4.0: autonomous robots; big data analytics; cloud computing; IoT; additive manufacturing (3D printing); system integration; cybersecurity; augmented reality; and simulation. The goal of the initiative is to get at least 50 of the participating SMEs to achieve Industry 4.0 standards, with all 100 expected to benefit from the program. The program is also anticipated to help local companies that provide Industry 4.0 solutions by connecting them with enterprises that could benefit from those solutions.

The program will include a mentorship aspect in which SMEs that have already achieved Industry 4.0 standards will contribute to the program and assist others to understand the benefit digitalization can have for their business. In 2019, the Council held a one-day SME workshop session about “The Potential of Industry 4.0 for Malaysian SMEs”. The workshop was conducted in a close collaboration with Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to support Malaysian Government’s National Policy on Industry 4.0 or “Industry4WRD”. Digital transformation can help SMEs respond to market challenges, increase efficiency and productivity, and grow their institutional capacity. Adoption of emerging technologies will allow SMEs to grow their businesses and give them a competitive edge.

Earlier this year, Singapore also launched its Business sans Borders (BSB) initiative, which has been piloted under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). BSB is a hub that will leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help SMEs globally connect with one another in order to improve the interoperability of SME ecosystems and drive growth. The hub hopes to match the demand and supply of goods and services across SMEs to solve business challenges. While the project is focused on assisting SMEs, many large corporations are partners to the initiative.

SMEs across ASEAN are beginning to use some digital tools such as email and websites in order to improve their businesses, but many lack capacity to implement emerging technologies such as AI, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, or Internet of Things (IoT). Capacity building initiatives can support SMEs by empowering entrepreneurs to adopt Industry 4.0 solutions to address their business challenges. For example, Indonesia’s “UMKM Go-online” or MSMEs Go-online program has been successful the digital upskilling of 9 million SMEs to encourage them to engage in e-commerce. In Myanmar, regional governments of both Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar are also in the early stages of developing programs and policies to support SME growth. Since 2011, over 7000 SMEs in all ten ASEAN Member States have benefitted from the Council’s SME program. The Council remains committed to empowering ASEAN SMEs through enhancing their digital competitiveness and facilitating regional trade.  

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Call for Input: Feedback Questionnaire on the Proposed ASEAN Data Management Framework

In support of the development of the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance, and at the request of the Singapore Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), we would like to invite you to complete a Questionnaire on the Proposed ASEAN Data Management Framework (DMF; formerly known as the ASEAN Data Classification Framework). PDPC is requesting for responses by January 14, 2020. Please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) for a copy of the Questionnaire along with submission details.

Call for Input: Malaysia Digital Policy Consultative Forum

The Council is currently seeking input from members on our draft concept note for an upcoming Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF) we are planning to host in Malaysia in March 2020. The Malaysia DPCF will be a two-day forum focused on topics around e-commerce, digital trade and digital data governance. Targeted participants for this DPCF include Director-level representatives from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Finance, and Bank Negara Malaysia, among others. If interested, please reach out to Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) to receive a copy of the draft concept note.

Indonesia Government Regulation No. 80 of 2019 on Trade Through Electronic Systems

The Government of Indonesia has recently issued a regulation governing electronic-based trading activities (e-commerce) in Indonesia, which came into force on November 25, 2019. The Government Regulation No. 80 of 2019 on Trade Through Electronic Systems (GR 80/2019) was released to provide greater certainty and improve governance in regard to the increasingly fast development of internet and electronic-based trading activities in the country. GR 80/2019 includes provisions regarding:

  1. Different types of e-commerce parties

  2. Requirements for e-commerce business players, including:

    1. Securing of business licenses

    2. Compliance with general business requirements

    3. Assistance with government programs

    4. Provision of valid, clear and honest information

  3. Taxation on foreign business players

  4. The obligation to protect consumers

  5. A transitional period

Members are advised to contact Michaela Wong at mwong@usasean.org or Angga Antagia at aantagia@usasean.org for a copy of the GR80/2019 regulation, or for any questions.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
4G+ Internet access on the horizon

Indonesia
More foreign companies provide digital training
Optimism abounds among industry players on Industry 4.0
Indo-Pacific connectivity needs support for good governance
Indonesia’s Alpha JWC Ventures Closes $123 Million Tech Fund
ICT sector gains strength as Indonesia prioritizes digital economy

Malaysia
Malaysia mentors SMEs to adopt Industry 4.0 technology capabilities
Malaysia striving to grow local analytics talent
Rise of smart cities in East Malaysia is in the offing — Dayang Shuzaidah Abduludin
Taxi drivers must transform and adopt latest technology, says Loke
Entrepreneur Development Ministry, MTDC collaborate to prepare SMEs for digital technology

Philippines
Pushing social change through digital tech
Accelerating development of IoT solutions
NTC exceeds 2019 collection target by 45%
Online couriers urged to register with DICT
3rd telco takes BOI pledges to P1T mark
Philippines' 'fake news' farms thrive due to politicians, industry players — report

Singapore
5G and other tech advances to have huge impact on ad media
Govt calls out Washington Post for 'perpetuating false allegations' over Pofma article
Active seeking of knowledge key to navigating digital economy: Experts
New data security rules for public sector by end-2020
Public agencies have 72 hours to decide to notify people affected by data breach under new data security rules
New academy gives SMEs digital boost
Digital transformation pivotal to future of Singapore SMEs

Thailand
Dictating the internet
Blockchain stands at the precipice
NBTC mulls lower numbers fee
Bourse studying digital asset applications
MCOT draws line on NBTC compensation
5G regulations set for launch in March
Fintech grows up

Vietnam
Innovation challenge for SMEs launched
Promoting cashless payments to boost internet economy
VN financial sector embraces digital era: conference
Creating environment for developing digital products and services
Another 5G network pilot in Vietnam
Tech advance to modernize Vietnam tourism
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

4G+ Internet access on the horizon Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Dec 2019
Progresif Cellular subscribers will soon be able to enjoy the 4G+ Internet access on their mobile devices. In a statement released yesterday, Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd announced the pending launch of 4G+ access for all customers, signalling the first of a number of changes that will define what’s new and what’s next for Progresif and the ICT sector in Brunei. Since its launch in late 2014,Progresif has seen exponential growth with its customer base increasing from 20K up to 200K by mid-2019. Over that time,Progresif has delivered on its promise to bring innovation through a suite of diversified products and services, and a number of firsts for the Sultanate with its expansion into FinTech, media and entertainment.

Indonesia

More foreign companies provide digital training The Jakarta Post 12th Dec 2019
More foreign companies are taking the initiative to provide digital training programs to Indonesian workers to address literacy and skillset gaps in the country. The latest initiative is being made by global payments and technology company Mastercard, which has just opened a training program called Mastercard Academy 2.0 in cooperation with two non-profit organizations, namely the YCAB Foundation and Infra Digital Foundation. Technology companies such as United States tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, as well as China’s Alibaba and Huawei, have already provided digital training programs in the country. Mastercard’s training program, officially launched on Monday, is to teach up to 100,000 Indonesians, including schoolchildren, young adults, entrepreneurs, and mid-career professionals, by 2022 about digital knowledge such as cybersecurity and payment technology. The training program would consist of four subprograms spanning different age segmen

Optimism abounds among industry players on Industry 4.0 The Jakarta Post 9th Dec 2019
Technology associations and industry players in Indonesia are optimistic that job gains from the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) will outweigh job losses, despite growing concern that automation will replace millions of jobs in the country. During a discussion on Digital Innovation in the Manufacturing Sector, as part of Manufacturing Indonesia exhibition in Jakarta on Dec. 5, Telkom Indonesia senior manager platform IoT (internet of things) I Ketut Agung Enriko said that technology such as IoT would be more efficient than humans in terms of improving productivity, risk avoidance and lowering production costs.

Indo-Pacific connectivity needs support for good governance The Jakarta Post 9th Dec 2019
As an evolving platform for regional architecture and economic growth, the Indo-Pacific concept got a constructive nod from the leaders of 18 member countries at the 14th East Asia Summit in Bangkok. The summit statement reiterated support for a peaceful, stable, resilient, dynamic and inclusive ASEAN community and emphasized ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. ASEAN has achieved consensus around the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, based on the principles of transparency, inclusivity, good governance and complementarity with existing cooperation frameworks. ASEAN has clearly conveyed its intention to use the outlook as a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions to contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, freedom and prosperity. Its next task is to bring important partners and infrastructure plans under an institutional framework that can help develop and implement the shared principles of governance, standards and sustainable financing of connectivity for economic growth.

Indonesia’s Alpha JWC Ventures Closes $123 Million Tech Fund Bloomberg 17th Dec 2019
Alpha JWC Ventures, an Indonesian firm co-founded by a former banker turned venture capitalist, has closed its second fund at $123 million. This is a record for an Indonesia-focused early-stage venture capital fund, underscoring growing investor interest in fostering a new generation of startups in a country that gave birth to internet giants like Gojek and Tokopedia.

ICT sector gains strength as Indonesia prioritizes digital economy The Jakarta Post 10th Dec 2019
A series of new digital infrastructure projects are strengthening Indonesia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector as the country prioritizes the digital economy as an area of growth. In late September, Japanese telecom giant NTT announced it would invest US$500 million in a new data center in Indonesia, the company’s third in the country.

Malaysia

Malaysia mentors SMEs to adopt Industry 4.0 technology capabilities Tech Wire Asia 16th Dec 2019
EMERGING economies across Asia are well aware of the necessity to innovate, evolve, and be more technology-literate, especially among countries that aim to meet the Industry 4.0 standards. Small and medium businesses (SMEs), however, are struggling to evolve and are unaware of their role in driving economic growth amid the digital disruption. As a result, government interventions are pushed forward to get these SMEs on the right track and help them embrace technology. Malaysia, in particular, is not slowing down when it comes to realizing its digitalization and transformation agenda.

Malaysia striving to grow local analytics talent OpenGov Asia 16th Dec 2019
With the launch of the Malaysia Smart City Framework in 2019, providing a better way of life for the citizens has been the main goal for the development of smart cities in Malaysia. The smart city framework is made up of six key components- smart governance, smart economy, smart mobility, smart living, smart environment, and smart people. Smart people are highly important as the community needs to possess additional technological skills to be able to communicate and benefit from the smart city they are living in while helping to build on it too. Urban development in Malaysia has witnessed challenges in managing and developing urban centres and smart cities.

Rise of smart cities in East Malaysia is in the offing — Dayang Shuzaidah Abduludin Malay Mail 16th Dec 2019
Tech Trends 2020 predicted by Telenor Group which has highlighted 20 fast-moving smart trends may well provide parallel insights into the Smart City Framework and set the backdrop for Sabah and Sarawak to be part of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Smart City Framework set by the government to fulfil the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which our country has signed up to, would provide the respective state governments with the needed leverage, along with current efforts on accelerating the adoption of latest smart trends, thus ensuring that Kota Kinabalu and Kuching become truly developed cities.

Taxi drivers must transform and adopt latest technology, says Loke Malay Mail 13th Dec 2019
Taxi drivers in the country must transform and adopt the latest technology in providing services to enable them to compete with e-hailing service providers, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook. He said of some 43,000 taxi drivers nationwide, only 10,000 were leveraging e-hailing applications (Apps) while the rest was still relying on conventional ways of getting passengers.   “Taxi drivers who apply e-hailing technology, can pick-up passengers from two platforms — e-hailing and taxi stand,” he told reporters after the launch of #JOMTEKSI, here today. Also present was TNG Digital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Ignatius Ong.

Entrepreneur Development Ministry, MTDC collaborate to prepare SMEs for digital technology Malay Mail 9th Dec 2019
The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) has forged a cooperation with Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) to prepare the small and medium enterprise (SME) to shift to utilise digital technology in their business. MED Secretary-General Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Md Radi said under the MED-MTDC Industry 4.0 SME Accelerator Programme, some 100 Bumiputera micro enterprises and SMEs were given exposure to Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technology in business through technology preparation and mentorship. The programme, to be implemented in three phases and completed in February next year, had targeted 50 SMEs to achieve I4.0 standard, wherein utilising automation and technology would make them more competitive in facing economic and market challenges, she said.

Philippines

Pushing social change through digital tech The Manila Times 15th Dec 2019
Businesses play an important role in helping address some of the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges that the country is currently facing, prompting the need to bring purposeful innovations for societal impact to the spotlight. Globe, one of the biggest players in the Philippine market, harnesses the power of digital technology to accelerate social changes and create significant social impact. Huge investments in the local telecommunications industry during the past two decades have given mobile access to a much larger percentage of the population, opened the floodgates of data, and increased efficiency of both large corporations, and micro, small and medium enterprises. Information and Communication technology (ICT) aso opened the doors to technologies that can address various societal problems such as financial inclusion for unserved and underserved Filipinos through GCash mobile wallet as well as access to medical advice via KonsultaMD hotline.

Accelerating development of IoT solutions The Manila Times 15th Dec 2019
MediaTek  announced it has joined Microsoft Azure Certified for Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring customers get IoT solutions up and running quickly with hardware and software that has been pretested and verified to work with Microsoft Azure IoT services. Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT allows businesses to reach customers where they are, working with an ecosystem of devices and platforms, allowing for faster time to production. Under MediaTek’s Rich IoT program, the company is offering the MT8362B targeted at a wide range of voice artificial technology, embedded and industrial devices. The MT8362B is a system-on-chip platform and its Evaluation Kit, Pumpkin i300 EVK, is available on Seeed Studio. The chipset supports Android 9.0 and Yocto Linux OS solutions based on Kernel version 4.19. The drivers are being pushed upstream to the mainline Kernel project for long term support which is critical for the IoT market.

NTC exceeds 2019 collection target by 45% The Manila Times 15th Dec 2019
THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) collected P6.228 billion as of end-November, surpassing its collection goal for this year by 45 percent. In a statement on Friday, the NTC said it exceeded its P4.786-billion target on regulators’ “efforts to strictly enforce stakeholders’ compliance in remitting spectrum users’ fees, supervision and regulation fees, and penalties.” Those regulated by the agency include cable and commercial television operators, broadcast radio stations, telecommunications companies, and two-way radio operators. This was the fourth straight year the commission beat its collection target. In 2018, the regulator collected P6.228 billion, higher than its P4.558-billion goal. “This achievement demonstrates the NTC and the [Department of Information and Communication Technology]’s full support for the national government and the public service programs pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte — priorities of which are on infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, and peace and order,” NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said.

Online couriers urged to register with DICT philstar.com 13th Dec 2019
Online couriers not registered with the Depart- ment of Information and Communications Technology can only operate and offer their delivery services upon the issuance of guidelines by the agency. DICT Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio Jr. said they would issue the guidelines in the rst week or second week of January. The guidelines are being crafted by the DICT after Buhay party list Rep. Lito Atienza questioned why the biggest online shopping stores are using unlicensed couriers in the transport of goods ordered online.

3rd telco takes BOI pledges to P1T mark Malaya 6th Dec 2019
The Board of Investments (BOI) breached its full-year target of P1 trillion as of October, reaching a record P1.040 trillion in investment approvals. The investment was boosted by a single project, Dito Telecommunity Corp.’s P210-billion project as the third major telecom player.The 10-month figure is up 139.6 percent from P434 billion in the same period last year. Foreign investments accounted for P330.9 billion, a 9-fold increase from just P36 billion in 2018.Local investments hit P709.1 billion, up 78.2 percent By nationality, Singapore remains the biggest foreign investor to date with P170 billion in capital; China now at second with P84.9 billion and South Korea, third with P39.1 billion. Projects registered as of October will create 52,554 jobs once in commercial operation.

Philippines' 'fake news' farms thrive due to politicians, industry players — report philstar.com 6th Dec 2019
MANILA, Philippines — The complicity of politicians and industry players in the political consultancy business, advertising and PR firms and digital influencer industry make way for the fake news industry in the Philippines, according to a report. Latvia-based NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence (StratCom) looked into the industry of political trolling in the Philippines as "an ever-expanding and financially lucrative industry." The report co-authored by University of Massachusetts Amherst associate professor Jonathan Corpus Ong and De La Salle University associate professor Jason Vincent Cabañes noted that trolls are ready to expand their services globally that may possibly influence Western democratic elections.

Singapore

5G and other tech advances to have huge impact on ad media The Straits Times 16th Dec 2019
The advertising media landscape will change radically next year, creating new opportunities and challenges for marketers. Mr Pablo Gomez, chief digital officer for Asia-Pacific (Apac) at market data and consulting group Kantar, said this on MoneyFM's Morning Drive programme. Speaking to hosts Elliot Danker, Manisha Tank and finance presenter Ryan Huang, Mr Gomez highlighted major themes in Kantar's 2020 Media Trends & Predictions Report. "The first is technology, which is rapidly transforming the media landscape in Apac," he said.

Govt calls out Washington Post for 'perpetuating false allegations' over Pofma article The Straits Times 16th Dec 2019
The Government has called out The Washington Post for "perpetuating false allegations" after the American newspaper ran only parts of a letter from Singapore's ambassador to the United States. Mr Ashok Kumar Mirpuri had responded to a Dec 2 article in the online edition of the Post about Facebook complying with the Government's directive to issue a correction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) last month. The article had pointed out that Pofma could have a "chilling effect on online free expression" and "open the door to broad government censorship", points which Mr Mirpuri rebutted.

Active seeking of knowledge key to navigating digital economy: Experts The Straits Times 16th Dec 2019
People should look to keep their networks active and be active in seeking information to best navigate the digital economy, said Mr Mayank Parekh, chief executive of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP). "Never be afraid to ask if you don't know enough, never be afraid to reach out to someone who you have some respect for... on your own it is sometimes quite difficult, quite daunting, so do reach out," he said.

New data security rules for public sector by end-2020 The Straits Times 15th Dec 2019
Data protection rules governing the country's public sector will be harmonised with those for the private sector, in the first major revision to address longstanding criticisms that private companies are subject to stricter measures. The seeming gap in the two sets of data protection measures became starker after a series of public-sector breaches involving sensitive data of patients and students. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Government Data Office director Quek Su Lynn said the public sector's internal data protection rules, known as Instruction Manual 8 (IM8), will be updated next year to make data protection measures clearer and plug gaps. For instance, all public-sector agencies will be required by law to decide within 72 hours whether or not to notify affected parties about a data breach.

Public agencies have 72 hours to decide to notify people affected by data breach under new data security rules The Straits Times 14th Dec 2019
Data protection rules governing the country's public sector will be harmonised with those for the private sector, in the first major revision to address longstanding criticisms that private companies were subject to stricter measures. The seeming gap in the two sets of data protection measures became starker after a series of public-sector breaches that involve the sensitive data of patients and students. In an interview with The Straits Times, the Government Data Office's director Quek Su Lynn said the public sector's internal data protection rules, known as Instruction Manual 8 (IM8), will be updated next year to make data protection measures "clearer" and plug "gaps".

New academy gives SMEs digital boost The Straits Times 14th Dec 2019
The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and V3 Fintech, the financial technology arm of lifestyle products group V3, have set up a digital academy to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) boost their digital competencies. The digital academy, Beyond Lab, will focus on areas such as data analytics - including support for green solutions - and fintech innovations that can help Singapore businesses "optimise and expand operations locally and in the region", said SBF and V3 Fintech. Consultancy Ernst & Young Advisory will be brought in to advise on content and curriculum development. Beyond Lab is expected to launch its first programme early next year.

Digital transformation pivotal to future of Singapore SMEs The Business Times 6th Dec 2019
HEADING into 2020, digital transformation will continue to be a strong theme for Singapore small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), driven by government support and a push for increased productivity. Beyond the laser focus on efficiency, however, digitalisation and technology adoption can address some other long-term issues for SMEs, observers say. These include growing their businesses' scale and geographical reach, and finding and retaining the right talent, said Bidhan Roy, head of small business for Asia Pacific, Japan and China at Cisco. He noted that one possible reason holding Singapore SMEs back from pursuing digital transformation so far is the need to focus on immediate needs in the day-to-day business.

Thailand

Dictating the internet Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
Disinformation or freedom of expression? Hate speech or free speech? Threat to national security or whistleblowing on corruption and tyranny? These time-honoured debates have assumed a new urgency in the internet era, where digital privacy is under attack and fake news sometimes comes from the same state institutions that use repressive laws to stifle dissent. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an organisation that seeks to protect human rights through the rule of law, has released a report called Dictating the internet: Curtailing free expression, opinion and information online in Southeast Asia.

Blockchain stands at the precipice Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
Following the crash in cryptocurrency prices, the future of blockchain remains uncertain, yet enthusiasm abounded at the World Blockchain Summit held in Bangkok on Monday for the potential of this fledgling technology. "When we started doing these summits in 2017 there was lots of money in blockchain, but also a lot of scams and bad projects," said Mohammed Saleem, chief executive of Trescon, the Indian events company hosting the event, its 14th blockchain summit globally. "Now 90% of those projects do not exist, but those that remain are genuine projects developing blockchain and much more of the funding comes from institutional funds and investors." He said Trescon chose Bangkok based on the Thai government's interest in regulating and developing cryptocurrency as well as the Thailand 4.0 development roadmap.

NBTC mulls lower numbers fee Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
After a public hearing, the telecom regulator is considering a new flat rate of 1.50 baht for the mobile phone numbering fee collected from operators per month per number, down from the 1.62-baht rate floated two months ago. The new rate is expected to be applied from January. During the public hearing about the issue, major mobile operators wanted a new flat rate of one baht per month per number, but the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said such a rate is too low and could markedly reduce the revenue the regulator passes on to state coffers and related funds. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said the present two rates applied to operators, of one baht and two baht, were determined by the allocation of mobile phone numbers by the regulator in the past.

Bourse studying digital asset applications Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is assessing four applications for possible integration to jump-start its digital asset ecosystem project. "We have hired consultants in two areas to look into our applications. We have chosen four applications already," said SET president Pakorn Peetathawatchai. "However, all these applications need to comply with Thai laws and regulations. Also, we will have to look into which propriety we will employ." The bourse has already conducted a workshop with intermediaries and other parties involved in the capital market to listen to project feedback and planned technologies, said Mr Pakorn.

MCOT draws line on NBTC compensation Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
B3bn too little for spectrum, chief says MCOT objects to the telecom regulator's initial plan to pay 3 billion baht in compensation to recall 160MHz of bandwidth on the 2600MHz range held by the state broadcaster, saying the figure is too low. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) wants the recalled bandwidth to go up for bid in the 5G spectrum auction scheduled for February. The regulator plans to auction off four spectrum ranges meant for the 5G network on Feb 16, including 15MHz of bandwidth on the 700MHz range, 35MHz on the 1800MHz range, 190MHz on the 2600MHz range and 2700MHz on the 26GHz range.

5G regulations set for launch in March Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
5G regulations set for launch in March A series of regulations governing 5G technology adoption and related frameworks are expected to be launched by March next year, says the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The regulations include the technical standard for networks and terminals for 5G, the numbering and identification of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, security and privacy, data arrangement structure and data interoperability. Korkij Danchaivichit, deputy secretary-general of the NBTC, said the agency has been talking with the private sector to work out the details of the 5G network and terminal standards.

Fintech grows up Bangkok Post 16th Dec 2019
Financial services providers and technology, media and telecom (TMT) businesses are increasingly using financial technology (fintech) to sharpen operational efficiency, lower costs, improve the customer experience and heighten the appeal of their products and services. They're also carving out new commercial possibilities. Digital-only banks are offering redesigned client propositions and cost profiles. Investment managers are deploying fully customised robo-advice. Insurers are using sensors to monitor people's health and drive illness prevention. According to a recent PwC survey, consumers are ready for the digital shake-up. The question is no longer whether fintech will transform financial services, but which firms will apply it best and emerge as leaders.

Vietnam

Innovation challenge for SMEs launched vietnamnews.vn 17th Dec 2019
The Qualcomm Vietnam Innovation Challenge 2020 was officially launched on Thursday to support the development of Việt Nam’s rising technology eco-system. The contest will be open to innovative small- and medium-sized companies and encourage them to design new products in 5G, Internet of Things, machine learning, smart cities, wearable devices and multimedia utilising mobile platforms and technologies of Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. This will offer an opportunity to help Vietnamese entrepreneurs enter new markets around the globe.

Promoting cashless payments to boost internet economy vietnamnews.vn 16th Dec 2019
Cashless payments would not only increase of the circulation of capital, it would also help boost the internet economy, said Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam. He was speaking at the E-payment Eco-system Development Forum 2019 under the theme “Motivation by Chip Technology” in Hà Nội on Tuesday. The forum was co-organised by Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) and the National Payment Corporation of Việt Nam (NAPAS). The Southeast Asian economy was dynamic with an internet economy of US$100 billion that was expected to triple in the next five years,” said Đam.

VN financial sector embraces digital era: conference vietnamnews.vn 16th Dec 2019
Many banks and finance companies have proactively adopted technologies to provide digital financial services, Nguyễn Hoàng Minh, a senior central bank official said. Speaking at a conference organised by Saigon Times newspaper in HCM City on December 5, deputy director of the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV)’s city branch, said: “The country has seen a growth in population and internet and smart phone users, and banks and finance companies should take advantage to further develop digital services such as mobile and internet payments.” The SBV is strengthening the legal framework to create the best conditions for banks and finance companies to operate more efficiently, he added.

Creating environment for developing digital products and services vietnamnews.vn 16th Dec 2019
Innovation and creation are strategic and decisive factors for Việt Nam's success of digital economic transformation. That was the message from Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Phạm Hồng Hải at the Internet Day 2019. He was speaking as the Việt Nam Internet Association marked Internet Day 2019 with a conference titled “Internet Vietnam: Innovation for digital transformation” in Hà Nội on Wednesday. The deputy minister said the country had been witnessing the birth of many tech businesses operating in a number of fields with new business models this year.

Another 5G network pilot in Vietnam OpenGov Asia 16th Dec 2019
Following the footsteps of other leading mobile network providers in Vietnam, state-owned MobiFone has been piloting the 5G technology in major cities of the country, contributing to the development of its IT infrastructure.

Tech advance to modernize Vietnam tourism VnExpress International 15th Dec 2019
With technology revolutionizing global tourism, insiders are urging Vietnam to follow suit. Application of technology and data collection were mentioned at the recent Vietnam Tourism and Travel Summit as game-changers for the country's tourism and its lost potential. "With millions of incoming visitors and a colossal lack of trained professionals, we can no longer operate manually," said Vu The Binh, vice president of Vietnam Tourism Association. Given the two-digit growth experienced in tourism over the past few years, staff demand is at a premium. However, training and employing more professionals cannot placate the equation. Hiccups with booking and visa services remain, ebbing the overall traveling experience. With limited, scattered information the tourist return rate is calculated at 10 to 40 percent for Vietnam, relatively low next to Thailand and Singapore boasting 60-70 percent, according to the association.